Best tech of 2018 – Part 2

Best tech of 2018,Samsung Q8C OLED TV,Nokia 8.1

Samsung Q8C OLED TV

The Q8C maintained its superiority all through the year. Bezel-less design, stunning colour and an aggressive price kept the rest of the competition at bay. Of course if you’ve got the money then the 88-inch version of this, the Q9F at Rs 24,99,900, is the absolute best you can buy now.

Nokia 8.1

This is the year and this is the phone that made the real Nokia stand up and be counted. Elegant and understated, stunning, true android experience, always first to get updates, great camera and a very aggressive price point. Nokia ensured customers’ experience was more important than gimmicks.

Google Home Hub

The Hub is Google adding a 7-inch display to its Home devices that lets users not just hear a response, but also see it. The screen personalises itself to every home member, shows YouTube videos, Google map info, and can control any smart home device and IoT product. The only thing missing is a camera for video calls.

Garmin Fenix 5X Plus

In a world of fitness bands and smartwatches, this is the ultimate beast. Made of titanium, this is an auto sensing multi-sport GPS watch with heart rate technology, run maps on display, a pulse blood oxygen saturation levels sensor, sapphire lens glass and 18-day battery life in smartwatch mode.

Devialet – Phantom Reactor 900

This company changed how people thought of a bluetooth speaker with its Phantom series. Now a huge step further, the Reactor is super small and yet insanely powerful. It can belt out a true 900 watts of undistorted sound including full sub woofer output and do it on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, optical or analog.

Samsung Galaxy A9

They all called it gimmicky. Why would you need four cameras at the back of a phone? Samsung answered with a big bang. Each camera at the back has a specific function and the phone is intelligent enough to know what to use and when. Eventually the Samsung A9 is the best optics phone under 40K.


This was the most exciting TV launched in the country and if it’s Xiaomi, they have to do it different and also make all other TVs look strangely over-priced. A 55-inch display, world’s thinnest LED at 4.9 mm, near bezel less, HDR 10, integrated Mi Sound Bar with 10 speakers and a price under 40K.

Vivo Nex

Vivo may well be the most innovative phone company this year. They came out with the world’s first in-display finger print scanner. They came up with a pop out camera that ensured that the display has no notch. Now everyone wants to do the same. The Nex was the first to do both together.

Oppo R17 Pro

Round up every big innovation of the year like an in-display fingerprint scanner, water drop notch, three cameras at the back, add a stunning design, then add super fast charging with dual batteries. What you get is a phone that makes your eyes and jaw open wide.

Corning Gorilla Glass 6

This is Corning taking things to its logical conclusion where your phone screen can withstand falls and doesn’t scratch. Nothing more heartbreaking than when your phone screen breaks, and Corning with its 6th generation tech is ensuring in the future, it won’t.

Panasonic OLED TV

With the TH-65FZ1000D they have an absolute winner. Excellent colour reproduction, thin frame, multi HDR support and an array of 12 speakers in its blade audio set up, this TV is the real 4K deal!

Mediatek Helio P 70

This is the year that Mediatek threw down the gauntlet and decided that people should buy a phone by asking for the processor inside by name. With some serious horse power, stunning artificial intelligence, better battery optimisation and amazing optical tricks, the P 70 will be the chip of choice on most mid-priced phones from here on.

For every one product I’ve highlighted here, I had to leave out at least five great ones. That summarises how good tech was in 2018. Watch out for 2019 though, as you haven’t seen anything yet…


Revenue boost as Pune drinks up in 2018

Pune,Revenue boost,alcohol

Tipplers from the city consumed a record amount of alcohol in 2018 with 19.25 per cent more during April to December as compared to previous year, the reflection of which is in higher revenue collection, according to statistics released by state excise department.

Higher sale of alcohol has brought good news for state excise department as the revenue earned has increased by 9.18 percent for Pune district. Higher sale of alcohol and its reflection in more revenue is a boon for the excise department as the sale of liquor had undergone a severe hit in 2017 due to Supreme Court ruling banning sale and service of alcohol within 500 metres of highways. The Ban was lifted in July 2017.

According to statistics revealed by the Pune branch of state excise department, liquor sales in Pune showed an unprecedented increase which includes Country Liquor by 23.17 per cent, Indian manufactured foreign liquor (IMFL) by 14.96 per cent, Beer by 11.92 per cent and Wine by 26.95 per cent.

The state excise department collected ₹1195.07 crore from April to December 2018 against ₹1094.62 crore collected from April to December 2017. As per officials,in 2018 revenue collection rate saw an increase by almost 9.18 per cent.

In the nine months from April 2018 to December 2018, Pune consumed 209.93 bl (bulk litres) of country liquor,which is 39.4 bl more than what was consumed during the same period in 2017.

As far as country Indian manufactured foreign liquor (IMFL) is concerned, it also saw a hike in consumption by 14.96 per cent. IMFL sale between April 2018 and December in 2018 was 250.24 bl as compared to 217.68 bl during the same period in 2017.In the case of Beer, sale from April to December in 2018 was 377.64 bl as against 337.42 bl during the same period in 2017.Along with that, sale of wine also witnessed a rise by 26.95 per cent. From April to December in 2018, the sale of wine was 10.50 bl as against 8.28 bl during the same period in 2017.

“There has been no specific reason behind the spike in sale of alcohol, but the possible reasons could be increasing population,changing culture and the recently lifted government ban on serving of liquor along the highways,” said SD Phulpagar, deputy superintendent, state excise department, Pune.

Shivaji Khandve,president of Pune district wine merchants association said, “Due to strict vigilance by state excise department on illegal trade of liquor from adjoining states, there has been an increased sale of liquor in Pune. As far as our industry is concerned we are happy with these figure and hopes trend continues.”

Statistics further revealed that from April to December 2018,Punities served around 848.31 bl of liquor through 2,600 liquor establishments in Pune district.

Excise department seized liquor worth Rs 4.68 cr in April -December 2018

The Pune branch of the state excise department registered 2,343 cases of illegal sale of liquor in the city from April to December 2018 which was less by 264 as compared to cases registered in the same period in 2017.

In connection to the registered 2,343 cases the state excise department, arrested 1,599 people and seized 163 vehicles. During this nine-month-period, the excise department seized liquor worth ₹4.68 crore.

“Criminal activities in our jurisdiction have dropped significantly.The credit goes to our team,as per guideline issued by our seniors we have kept strict vigilance through the city and district to prevent illegal trade of liquor,” said SD Phulpagar,deputy superintendent,state excise department, Pune. Those engaged in illegal trade of liquor should consider themselves warned as this drive will be continued through the year, added Phulpagar.

In 2017,Pune branch of the state excise department seized liquor worth ₹ 6.64 crore in 2,607 cases registered with them. In connection to the registered cases they arrested 1,497 criminals and seized 207 vehicles from Pune district.

As far as 2018 is concerned, December month was said to be very busy in terms of keeping tabs on illegal liquor activity for state excise department. The excise department registered 366 cases in December 2018 the highest in the year while September 2018 saw registration of 207 cases, the lowest in 2018. A similar trend was seen in 2017,when December 2017 recorded the highest cases with 447 illegal liquor cases and April 2017 registered 180 illegal trading cases, the lowest in 2017.


Eight Great Apps and Software Services That Launched In 2018

Eight Great Apps and Software Services That Launched In 2018

2018 was rather special and interesting, from a software point of view. While tech giants continued to deliver futuristic, mind-bending and impressive software and services, they also realised their own software was chewing away our brains, making us all sloppy. We took a good look around to see which software and services were introduced this year that are likely to shape the way we use most of our tech products.

Here are our top picks for the best software and services we saw in 2018.

1. Google Duplex
Google likes to show off cool stuff at its I/O developer conferences each year. Duplex, however, was way above anything we’d seen. It just blew everyone’s mind away. Built as a feature inside Google Assistant, Duplex can place phone calls for you to make reservations for you and more. All this in a human-like tone that could be hard for someone on the other line to make out if it’s an actual human being or a robot.

google main duplex

The search giant even demonstrated the feature in front of the crowd and it didn’t sound anything like a robot as Duplex added a little “hmmm” and “umm” into the conversation. The uses cases are endless and it looked like this could completely change the way we use our smartphones.

However, once everyone picked up their jaws from the floor, there was a growing concern amongst many that Duplex calls may be amazing, but a little too creepy. Google has assured that Duplex will properly notify that a call is being made from a robot when it’s working.

The feature has started rolling out to Google Pixel owners in the US.

2. WebAuthn
Let’s be honest, passwords aren’t everyone’s favourite method of authentication even though we continue to live our daily lives with one. Back in April this year, two major standards bodies FIDO and W3C revealed that they were going to kill the good old password with WebAuthn.

WebAuthn is simply a new protocol that eliminates the use of a password. The most popular browser makers like Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla have agreed to integrate WebAuthn within their browsers. Users will be able to use a physical security key (USB) or a mobile device instead of a password. This could make things a lot easier for Internet users all across.

3. Screen Time on iOS and Digital Wellbeing on Android
As technology is making our lives simpler and easier, it’s also slowly vacuuming us all into a world we can’t escape from. This year, the makers of the two most popular mobile operating systems decided to change things a little.

we;; wellbeing

Both Apple and Google announced new features built right inside the OS to help users measure how much time they were spending on their mobile devices.

Apple introduced Screen Time on iOS 12 and Google added Digital Wellbeing on Android 9.0 Pie. Both services may have different interfaces but share a common goal. The idea is to get you to use your phone less so you don’t spend hours staring at it when you could be doing something else, something more productive.

Later in the year, both Facebook and Instagram apps introduced their own version of these features.

4. Siri Shortcuts
With iOS 12, Apple also introduced a new way to make the most out of Siri. Siri Shortcuts lets users group together a bunch of iOS-based actions and easily trigger them using voice commands. A large chunk of iOS apps also added support for Siri Shortcuts.

siri short short

Although the idea sounds simple, it has become a popular way to get things done on an iOS device. From something as simple as having a text message sent when something else happens, to asking Siri about the status of your online food order, it can do pretty much anything you want.

The feature makes Siri more useful and powerful.

5. Otter
Otter is a mobile app that can automatically transcribe your voice recordings. The app is quite different from similar apps we’ve seen in the past. It is specifically meant for long-form conversations and can accurately convert voice to text without any issues.

Otter is perfect for meetings, interviews, and other events where more than one person is talking. The app can capture the audio, transcribe the content, and turn it into an archive that can be easily searched. The app is available on both iOS and Android. There’s a Web interface available as well.


Apple AirPower Wireless Charger Misses 2018 Release Window

Apple AirPower Wireless Charger Misses 2018 Release Windowharger, AirPower, which was supposed to let iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods owners wirelessly charge all three devices at the same time, missed its release window in 2018, yet again.

Apple had announced a product at its September 2017 iPhone event called “AirPower”. Apple had said it would launch in 2018, but it never did. It’s a rare miss for Apple, which typically has a good track record of following through on product announcements, CNBC reported late on Monday.

The AirPower is rumoured to have faced internal development challenges due to which the Cupertino-based giant could not bring the product to market as smoothly as expected.

“During each of its events this year (2018) – one in March where it announced new iPads, its developer conference in June, the annual iPhone event in September and a Mac event in October – Apple failed to mention AirPower or its status,” the report added.

The tech giant also stopped mentioning AirPower in its website after the September 2018 launch of the latest iPhone models.

Famed Apple writer John Gruber, at that time, suggested that the AirPower was facing overheating problems and may have been “scrubbed” that means AirPower was getting too hot while trying to charge three devices at the same time, the CNBC report added.

The iPhone-maker has also remained tight-lipped about the pricing of the product.

At the end of last year, famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seemed confident that the product could be released in the first quarter, according to 9to5Mac.


TVS Registers 6 Per Cent Sales Growth In December 2018

TVS Registers 6 Per Cent Sales Growth In December 2018 View Photos

TVS Motor Company registered a positive end to the last calendar year with a 6 per cent growth in December 2018 sales. The company sold 271,395 units last month, as against 256,870 units sold in December 2017. The manufacturer’s sales performance was on the rise across all segments including two-wheelers by 4 per cent, three-wheelers by 37 per cent, while and 26 per cent for export operations. The company also recorded a 19 per cent hike in volumes for the third quarter (October-December 2018) for the current financial year, over the same period last year.

In the two-wheeler segment, TVS sold 258,709 units in December 2018, growing by 4 per cent over 247,591 units sold in December 2017. Domestic two-wheeler sales meanwhile, increasing by 1 per cent up from 209,906 units last month, to 207,739 units sold in December 2017. Scooter sales grew by 9 per cent to 91,480 units in December last year, up from 86,638 units sold during the last month of 2017. TVS sold 107,189 motorcycles in December 2018, witnessing a 13 per cent hike in volumes as compared to 95,246 units sold in December 2017.


TVS Bikes

Ntorq 125

Apache RTR 160 4V

Apache RTR 180

Apache RR 310

Apache RTR 160



Apache RTR 200 4V


Star City Plus

XL 100

Scooty Pep Plus

Scooty Zest 110

XL 100 Comfort




The Hosur-based bike maker’s three-wheeler business grew as well with TVS retailing 12,686 units last month, a healthy growth of 37 per cent over 9279 units sold in December 2017. International sales too witnessed a jump for the Apache maker, which shipped a total of 60,262 units last month, a growth of 26 per cent over 47,818 units exported in December 2017. Two-wheeler exports contributed 48,803 units to total volumes shipped overseas, a growth of 22 per cent as compared to 39,852 two-wheelers shipped in December 2017.


For the third quarter of the current financial year, TVS sold a total of 9.50 lakh two-wheelers between October and December 2018, growing by 19 per cent from 7.99 lakh units sold during the same period of the previous fiscal. Three-wheeler sales grew by 47 per cent during the same period up by 47 per cent from 0.27 lakh units between October-December 2017 to 0.40 lakh units sold in the last three months of 2018.